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Structure of Mafia crime family

A caporegime or capodecina, usually shortened to just a capo, is a term used in the Mafia for a high-ranking made member of a crime family who heads a "crew" of soldiers and has major social status and influence in the organization. Caporegime is an Italian word, which is used to signify the head of a family in Sicily, but has now come to mean a ranking member, similar to captain or senior sergeant in a military unit. In general, the term indicates the head of a branch of an organized crime syndicate who commands a crew of soldiers and reports directly to the Don (Boss) or an Underboss or Streetboss.

Background[edit]

The Mafia, particularly the American Mafia, is typically divided into distinct and partially independent "crews" headed by a "capo" or leader of the individuals. Individual crew members report to the capo. The crew collects protection and other money for the capo, who at regular intervals gives a share (or "taste") of the collected money to the underboss and/or the boss. Estimates of average income of a capo varies and is difficult to quantify. Income is dependent on the success and size of a capo's crew and the state of the economy at the time.

Mafia crews are usually independent from each other, with members typically operating strictly within their own crew. Asking Mafia members how many crews and how many individuals are in a family is prohibited because of the Mafia's oath of secrecy and the suspicion that the inquiring individual might be an informant.

Sometimes a crew might specialize in certain areas like gambling, while other crews might be more involved in legitimate interests like construction. A crew might also operate in certain geographical areas.

The number of caporegimes/crews depends on the size of a family. The Gambino crime family has had more than 20 capos whereas the St. Louis crime family has had fewer.

Operation[edit]

In the Mafia, when a boss makes a decision, he passes instructions down through the chain of command. Whenever he issues orders, in most cases he gives them to the capo. In some cases, he gives orders to the consigliere, who in turn passes them to the capo. In either case, it is the capo who passes them to the soldiers in his crew. For years, this made it extremely difficult to indict a boss for illegal acts, since the soldiers almost never receive orders directly from him. A caporegime acts as a buffer between the soldiers and the boss. Effectively, a caporegime operates his own small family within the framework of a larger family.

Each capo is in charge of a mini-gang or a crew of soldiers and associates that can range greatly in size. These men may or may not be based in close proximity. For example, Bonanno crime family capo Joey Gambino had crew members spread throughout New York's five boroughs and even had crew members operating in New Jersey. Capos have varying degrees of power. Some are relatives or close friends of the boss, which gives them more influence. A capo with an active crew that generates a lot of profits is always respected. For example, when he was a capo, John Gotti was widely respected and tolerated due to the profits his crew generated for the Gambino crime family. Despite their various blunders and mistakes, they successfully avoided getting killed by their superiors and were tolerated due to this fact. On the other hand, capo Joe Sferra of the DeCavalcante crime family was demoted to soldier and removed from his lucrative union post in June 1965 after a series of blunders. In 1984, a more severe loss of power occurred to Salvatore "Salvie" Testa, a once rising Philadelphia crime family capo. He ended up getting murdered by Nicky Scarfo due to the suspicions raised about his loyalty.

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • Capeci, Jerry. The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Mafia. Indianapolis: Alpha Books, 2002. ISBN 0-02-864225-2.

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caporegime — Please support Wikipedia.
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233 news items

News3LV

News3LV
Wed, 09 Dec 2015 06:28:19 -0800

LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) - One of the most feared and respected names in West Coast organized crime from the 1930s well into the '70s was Frank "Bomp" Bompensiero - who was based out of San Diego, but also did business in Los Angeles and ...
 
Leadership Newspapers
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 22:33:43 -0800

After Don Vito Corleone is shot by men working for drug dealer Virgil “The Turk” Sollozzo, Corleone's two sons, Santino and Michael, must run the family business with the help of consigliere Tom Hagen and the two caporegime Peter Clemenza and Salvatore ...

Telegraph.co.uk

Telegraph.co.uk
Wed, 27 Jan 2016 09:34:52 -0800

Tessio is, in reality, a “caporegime” in the Corleone crime family, in charge of a crew of foot-soldiers and perfectly capable of murder. The scene where Tessio is taken away to be killed is one of the film's most remarkable. He quickly calculates that ...

Politiken.dk

Politiken.dk
Tue, 26 Jan 2016 13:34:53 -0800

Abe Vigoda er bedst kendt for sin rolle som Don Vito Corleones caporegime og livslange ven, Salvatore Tessio, i Francis Ford Coppolas film 'The Godfather' fra 1972. Det var ham, der forsøgte at forråde Al Pacino, der i rollen som 'Michael Corleone ...

Notícias ao Minuto (liberação de imprensa)

Notícias ao Minuto (liberação de imprensa)
Tue, 26 Jan 2016 12:48:45 -0800

Deu corpo, no cinema, a Salvatore Tessio, um dos 'caporegime' de Vito Corleone no livro 'O Padrinho', de Mario Puzo. Abe Vigoda levou a personagem ao grande ecrã pela mão de Francis Ford Coppola. O filme granjeou de fama mundial e, mais tarde, de ...

Il Primato Nazionale

Il Primato Nazionale
Wed, 27 Jan 2016 06:03:45 -0800

Insieme a Clemenza, Tessio diventa caporegime nella famiglia Corleone e si occupa di gestire il gioco d'azzardo a Brooklyn. Tessio e Clemenza diventano talmente potenti e abili che lo stesso Padrino finisce per temerne l'ascesa, tanto da separarli per ...

Deadspin

Deadspin
Tue, 13 Oct 2015 06:23:41 -0700

It's a great play call because it worked. If it had backfired, running off the remaining five seconds and being stopped shy of the goal line, the Steelers get blasted this morning for a terrible play call. Those value judgments are subjective, and ...

Play4movie

Play4movie
Mon, 01 Feb 2016 01:38:45 -0800

Lutto nel mondo del cinema: è morto Abe Vigoda, attore newyorkese celebre per aver interpretato Salvatore “Sal” Tessio, il caporegime del clan mafioso dei Corleone, in Il padrino di Francis Ford Coppola. Aveva 94 anni e s'è spento nella sua casa di ...
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